B is for Bric-a-brac


"Fucking conniving bastard!"

If nothing else, Deidara pondered, the girl could at least be a suitable alarm clock. After all, there was nothing like a good kick to the head to wake somebody up.

Kisame was already on his feet, grabbing Sakura around the neck. "Behave," he growled, and Deidara watched as Sakura squirmed helplessly. She clawed at the hands around her throat, but when he tightened his grip she grimaced and purposefully fell limp. He set her down, but he still kept one hand clenched tightly around her upper arm.

Deidara rubbed his head, pouting a little bit. "Well, isn't your company just wonderful, yeah."

"Piss off," she hissed and arched away from him, much like a cornered cat. "I trusted you—"

"First mistake," Kisame mumbled.

"And I pitied you—"

"Second," Deidara continued.

"And you fucking stole me away!"

Suddenly, it wasn't too difficult to see quite a bit of Tsunade in the girl's demeanor. Besides the blonde hair and big breasts, she could pass of as a good substitute. Shrugging, Deidara waved a nonchalant hand. "As you can see, it was really your fault, anyway."

With a roar of anger, Sakura flipped upwards, using her captor's arm to land a swift kick to his face. Kisame flew backwards, but was able to stop himself from smashing straight through the bedroom wall. He landed masterfully on one palm, and then hopped to his feet.

Sakura turned to Deidara, who was, in turn, staring at her intently. "You'll die," she said, charging toward him, foot outstretched once more.

He caught her easily enough by the ankle, though, and swung her on the bed. She landed on her back hard, and even though her fall was largely cushioned, she grunted. Deidara followed, pinning her down with his knees and hands.

She tried to free herself, writhing and wriggling underneath his grip. But the added forces of A: Deidara's fierce hold and B: the chakra-resistant ropes binding her hands behind her wouldn't allow her escape.

Deidara frowned down at her. "You're so much trouble, yeah."

Her face turned an interesting shade of red for a moment before she shut her eyes tight and let out a blood-curdling scream that had even Kisame staggering.

"Shut up!" Deidara warned, trying to find a way to maneuver himself so that he could cover her mouth with a forearm.

She screamed again. "Help me! Someone!"

Kisame was about to rush to Deidara's aid, but the bedroom door flew open.

Three heads turned in its direction.

The lady and supposed owner of the house panted, key in hand, and looked about the room frantically. "I heard screaming! Is someone in danger?"

"Help me!"

"Uh…um…" Deidara fumbled, glancing quickly between Sakura and the woman. "We were just…I mean…"

The woman stared for a moment, and then a deep flush came over her features. She clapped a hand over her eyes. "O—oh! I'm so sorry! I—I must have interrupted…"

"Y…yes!" Deidara quickly said, his face lighting up in realization. "Yes, you did! I apologize, but my wife is rather…rambunctious, yeah."

"Wife?" Sakura screeched, trying to wrench away from his grasp again. "No!" She moved her head slightly to look at the woman, even though she had her eyes covered. "He's lying! Please help me! H—him and the—the shark man! They kidnapped me!"

Deidara laughed nervously. "I'm so sorry, miss. But when she gets into something, she…well, she's a wonderful actress!"

"He's lying!" Sakura pleaded, and a fit of tears cracked her voice. "They stole me! I'm from Konoha! Konoha of the Fire Country!"

The woman removed her hand from her eyes, staring at the pair on the bed with a wary expression.

They were going to be found out and his plan was just going to fall all to hell if she didn't close her mouth! And damn it, he had come too far for it to just end like this. Deidara panicked, his mind racing…

"Please! You have to believe me! Help me, or call for—"

…and he brought his lips to Sakura's in a chaste mock of a kiss.

The woman made an "Eep!" noise and quickly backed out of the room. "I—I apologize! I'll leave you two—er—three—alone!"

As soon as the woman closed to door, Kisame was grabbing Sakura by the head, slamming her into the opposite wall. She looked a little stunned, though whether that was from his previous action or from Kisame's twitch of violence, Deidara couldn't tell. He sat back on his haunches and wiped his lips with the back of his hand, grimacing.

"That was disgusting, yeah," he muttered, climbing off the bed. "Kisame, we're going to have to convince that woman that we're not kidnappers."

Kisame looked at his partner over his shoulder, frowning. "And how do we do that? She's being an uncooperative little—"

"Let me go!" Sakura suddenly cried, sobbing. "What do you want from me? There's nothing I can give you!"

"You—" Deidara began, but Sakura cut him off.

"I don't even know if Naruto's alive or not! And if he is, what do you need the kyuubi for anymore? You're the only Akatsuki left!"

Kisame's fist connected with the side of her head, and she gasped, her body tensing instinctively.

"Kisame," Deidara barked, glaring daggers at both the girl and his partner. "You'll kill her if you keep that up, and she's no good to us dead, yeah."

"I'm no use to you at all!"

"And you!" Deidara accused, stepping close to Sakura, where she still was pinned against the wall, and pointing a demeaning finger in her face. "Stop talking! You're giving me a headache!"

Kisame rubbed his temples with his free hand. "So what are we going to do?"

"We," Deidara drawled, moving to sit down on the bed in frustration, "are going to just pretend to be one happy little family. I'm the loving-but-slightly-strict husband, you're the deadbeat brother-in-law, and the girl's the pitying wife. Got it? Both of you?"

Kisame nodded at the same time that Sakura shook her head.

"Listen, yeah," Deidara said, indicating that he was speaking directly to Sakura by glaring at her with his scope, beneath the fringe of his bangs. "I'm not above using you for reasons other than medicinal purposes, if you know what I mean."

"And neither am I," Kisame snickered. Sakura paled.

"And trust me on this one, little girl, I can make your life a living hell, or I can…well, I can make it slightly less than a living hell. Take your pick, yeah."

"Don't you dare touch me," she breathed, her eyes narrowing as hatred clouded her tone. "Don't you ever touch me! Either of you!"

"We won't," Deidara said, standing up and picking some lint off of his cloak. Not that it mattered, anyway. It was tattered beyond repair. "But you need to collaborate with us. Do whatever we say."

"That's not collaborating," Sakura spat, wincing under Kisame's hand. "Collaborating is working together—being a team. What you're asking me to do is—"

"Admittedly not that difficult," Deidara finished for her, even though he knew it was the exact opposite of what she had been about to say. "We're helping each other, yeah. Kisame and I will protect you, and you will heal us whenever necessary, which will probably be often, in return." He glanced down at himself, then at Kisame. "In fact, I'd say we need to be spiffed up right now."

"Never. I hate you."

Deidara slapped a palm to his face. "This isn't about whether or not you like us. This is about survival."

"Then I'd rather die than help!"

"There are worse things than death," Kisame said, grinning wide, and this had Sakura shutting her mouth tight.

"For now," Deidara bartered, "just go along with it. This woman is going to send some sort of troop after us if we don't get down there and eat breakfast with her family. If she sends a troop, we're going to have to slaughter them all, yeah. And eventually, somebody's going to find out that a whole village is drowning in blood. That could create huge problems for all of us, even you."

Sakura opened her mouth, but Kisame didn't allow her to speak.

"It doesn't matter whether or not you did it. You were still with us when we did, and you're still an accessory to a crime. You'd be punished all the same." A thought seemed to come to him, and his lips twitched up in a half-smile. "Then you'd be forced to run instead of being captured and thrown in prison, and you'd become a missing-nin along with us. Then you'd aid us in resurrecting the Akatsuki, and eventually, you and Deidara would have several pink-haired, blue-eyed babies with incredible chakra control and itty-bitty mouths on their itty-bitty hands." He laughed. "Quite the Dream Team, hmm?"

Deidara sighed. "Kisame, you're an idiot, yeah."

Kisame smirked charmingly. "I can't help that I'm creative."

"Alright," Sakura said after a moment, hanging her head in defeat. I'll…I'll do this for you. Just don't hurt anybody here. They're all innocent."

Kisame and Deidara leered ominously. "Perfect."


Sakura's smile really was brilliant.

Deidara frowned.

But it was still an obvious fake.

As the continued on down the hallway, he grabbed her around the shoulders and pushed her against his side. She tensed. "You look so nervous, yeah," he ground out, sliding his hand down to her forearm, where he squeezed it tightly. "Try not to look so flustered."

Immediately, her face fell lax then brightened again. This time, she was sort of half-smiling, a dazed expression crawling across her features, but at lease it didn't look forced.

He released her, grinning. "Much better. Now, remember what you're supposed to do?"

She nodded.

He ruffled her hair. "Good girl, yeah."

Kisame snorted. "Okay, Zetsu."


The shark man whistled gaily, hands in his pockets. "Nothing."

"Good morning!" the woman cried as the three of them entered the dining room. She ushered them each to their appointed seats at one end of the table as her and her two children sat at the other end. "I hope you're in the mood for kayu!"

The smile on Deidara's face faded. They were having…rice gruel.

She dished out six bowls plus their appointed spoons, never stopping humming and grinning. Afterward, she sat down to her own breakfast.

Kisame cast Deidara a sidelong glance. Apparently, he was having the same thoughts. The Akatsuki didn't eat like princes by any means, but they certainly ate better than kayu. The last time he'd had this dish was when he'd contracted pneumonia a few years back. And even then, the organization had been considerably low on funds.

He looked at Sakura who was, surprisingly, eating like she hadn't eaten in days. And maybe, he speculated, she hadn't.

Grudgingly and with an inward sigh, Deidara spooned a bit of the gruel into his mouth. So bland…

"Excuse me, miss?" Sakura said meekly, looking at the woman.

The woman smiled. "Aramaki Nanami."

Sakura smiled back, but it seemed more of a weak twitch of her lips. "Mrs. Aramaki, my name is—"

"Oonishi Keiko," Deidara quickly cut in. "Her name is Keiko, and I am Oonishi Makoto." He pointed to Kisame, who was busily picking gruel out of his fingernails. "And this is my brother-in-law, Yoshida Kenji."

"I see," the woman said, and she visibly swallowed. "Was…there something you needed, Keiko?"

A grim look passed over Sakura's face, and Deidara watched as she clenched her fists in the material of her tunic. "Yes. Could I possibly use your restroom?"

Nanami nodded. "Yes. It's the first door on the left, just down the hall behind me. I can—"

"I'll come with you, sister," Kisame said, standing up as Sakura looked at him with a horrified expression. "I need to use the restroom, as well, and I'll just wait behind you."

As soon as the two of them were well out of eyesight and the range of hearing, Nanami turned to Deidara. "How long have you and your wife been married, Makoto?"

He almost choked on a spoonful of gruel. How many damn stories was he going to have to make up in one day? "N…not long. A few months."

"Ah." The woman smiled nostalgically and put a gentle hand to her pink cheek, closing her eyes delicately. "I remember when Yuudai and I were newlyweds… Such wonderful times. You should cherish them greatly, young man, as they'll be the best years of your life."

"Cherish them," Deidara mumbled, resting his chin in his palm and swirling the spoon in the kayu. "I'll remember that, yeah."

One of the children laughed—the little girl—and it caught Deidara's attention. "You have a funny accent," she giggled, hiding half behind her soup bowl.

Deidara frowned. "It's not an accent. It's a habit, yeah."

"I want to be like Mr. Oonishi!" the boy shouted, holding his spoon in the air like a triumphant torch. "Watch me, watch me!" All eyes turned to him, and he took a deep breath. "I like to play with my friends, yeah."

The girl laughed. "I want to be like Mr. Oonishi, too…yeah!"

Frustration festered and brewed in Deidara's stomach, and he quickly finished up his gruel. Damn kids and their damn, innocent games. Honestly, things would be so much easier if he could just make his trademark scary-half-covered-leer face, smile with all three of his mouths, and laugh as they ran off. But no, of course not. He was stuck having to bend and twist to the expectations of the wife of some poor fisherman in some poor fishing village.

He sighed and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. Of course, if he did reveal his "special additives," they'd surely recognize him as an Akatsuki. After all, how many people had mouths on their hands? Surely this was as noticeable as any scar they could identify him with. Kisame…not so much. He may have been blue, and may have had gills, but he wasn't as…recognizable as Deidara, himself, was. Deidara was flamboyant with his killings. Kisame preferred to—

"What's that on your hand, yeah?" one of the children, the little girl, inquired, tilting her head to try and get a better view of it.

The color fell from Deidara's face and he quickly planted his hands in his lap. "It's…uh…a tattoo."

"I want to see it, yeah!" the boy cried, bouncing up and down in his chair.

"Um, no, I don't think that's a good idea," Deidara replied, gritting his teeth and staring down the hallway that Kisame and the girl had disappeared down. How long did it take?

"Why not, yeah?" the children asked in unison, and Mrs. Aramaki placed a hand on each of their shoulders.

"Children," she said soothingly, "if Mr. Oonishi doesn't wish to show you, then he doesn't have to."

Deidara could definitely detect a certain tone in her voice that he absolutely detested. She was testing him. If he didn't show her his hands, she'd be suspicious. And if he did, he'd be in a heap of trouble. "It's…quite inappropriate for the children, yeah," he mumbled, trying to make himself blush. But damn if it wasn't difficult. He wasn't really one for modesty at all.

Silence coated the dining room for a moment, and then he heard the chair squeak as Mrs. Aramaki leaned back. She made a half-contented sound in her throat and continued eating.

Finally, Sakura and Kisame came back. As soon as Sakura sat down, Nanami assaulted her with a barrage of questions.

"So, Keiko, Makoto's told me you're newlyweds. Where were you married?"

Sakura visibly swallowed. "We…" Deidara caught her eyes with his as she went on, sounding somewhat choked. "In…in a fishing village in…the Fire Country."

"Oh?" she asked, seemingly infinitesimally interested as she set down her spoon in her empty bowl. "Were either of you fishers? Or from a family of fishermen?"



Deidara glared at Sakura. Well, that didn't sound shady. He huffed good-naturedly and waved a hand nonchalantly—an instinctive act. "Well, yes and no, actually—"

The little girl gasped. "You have mouths on your hands!"

"Cool!" the boy cried, gripping the edge of the table in a vice-like grip. "Let me see, let me see!"

"Th—they're not mouths, yeah," Deidara said, putting his hands in his lap once more. "They're tattoos."

"And how, exactly," Mrs. Aramaki said, furrowing her brow ominously, "are tattoos of mouths on your hands considered inappropriate for children?"

Deidara glanced at Kisame for support, but Kisame was too busy trying his damndest not to laugh. He was failing miserably.

"You see," Sakura said suddenly, leaning close to Mrs. Aramaki as she stuffed another spoonful of kayu down her throat. "I have a certain fetish. A hand fetish, actually, and D—Makoto tattooed mouths on his hands as a sort of engagement gift to me. It's very…alluring."

The fisherwoman nodded, blushing gently. "I see. That's so darling! He must really care for you."

Kisame finally broke, and he laughed uproariously, clutching his stomach.

"Well!" Deidara announced, standing up hastily. "We should really get going, yeah. We have a long way to travel still! How much do I owe you?"

"My wonderful family!" a large man bellowed, bursting through the front door and startling the three shinobi to their feet. He carried a long string with several fish dangling from it, and he swung it about merrily. "I have returned!"

Mrs. Aramaki jumped up, hands clenched to her chest spectacularly. "Yuudai!" she swooned, floating to his side. "You've come home at last!"

The presumed "Yuudai" dropped his string of fish and picked up Mrs. Aramaki in his arms, carrying her bridal style. "You look as beautiful as ever, Nanami."

"Poppa!" the children cried, crawling out of their chairs to hug the man holding their mother.

Deidara flicked his gaze to Kisame, who was holding an arm protectively in front of Sakura. He relaxed, but raised an amused eyebrow at the shark man.

Kisame frowned. "What?"

"What's with the 'step-back-my-damsel' arm, yeah?" Deidara snorted, crossing his arms over his chest.

Kisame's frown deepened. "It's just reflex. Relax; I'm not going to steal your sweetheart away."

"She wishes."

And that was when Sakura made her grand escape, darting clear over the dining room table, through the flock of fisher-family, and out the open front door.

Kisame immediately fled after her, and Deidara cursed loudly.

Yuudai huddled his family to his side. "What's this?" he asked in his rumbling voice.

"She's just got a case of the newlywed jitters," Deidara said happily, and he threw 1,000 yen on the table, already scaling a toppled chair as he shouted, "that should be enough!" over his shoulder.